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Differentiated Instruction (DI)


Differentiated instruction is an instructional practice that promotes varied and adapted approaches to teaching based on the individual student versus the classroom as a whole (Tomlinson, 2001). Though DI, teachers modify their curriculum for their students versus the students having to change to fit the curriculum. The Office of Special Education promotes this instructional strategy in an effort to allow all children throughout Missouri access to a quality education.

DI Workshop

Regional Professional Development Center (RPDC) consultants across Missouri provide an annual DI workshop to help Missouri's educators address the need for knowing the readiness, interests, and learning styles of the students in our classrooms.Through this workshop, teachers will learn how to develop a learning environment that allows for differences, thus helping students "make sense" of instruction within the classroom. Workshop participants will use tools to diagnose learning profiles, explore strategies for addressing student differences through various instructional strategies, and participate in hands-on activities. For more information, contact your local RPDC consultant.

DI Resources

The Center on Instruction (COI) is one of five national content centers, part of the Comprehensive Center network, that is funded by the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Office of Special Education Programs at the U.S. Department of Education. The center page above lists special education resources regarding DI and data-based decision making.

January 2011

Tracey Hall, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist, NCAC

Abstract: Not all students are alike. Based on this knowledge, differentiated instruction applies an approach to teaching and learning so that students have multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas. The model of differentiated instruction requires teachers to be flexible in their approach to teaching and adjusting the curriculum and presentation of information to learners rather than expecting students to modify themselves for the curriculum.

ERIC—the Education Resources Information Center, sponsored by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) and the U.S. Department of Education, is an online digital library of education research and information that provides ready access to education literature to support the use of educational research and information to improve practice in learning, teaching, educational decision-making, and research. The center page above lists links to available DI resources.

February 2011

U.S. Department of Education Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development

Abstract: This report describes an exploratory substudy on teachers’ thinking about data conducted in conjunction with the larger Study of Education Data Systems and Decision Making data collection and the implications of the substudy findings for teacher preparation and support.

Sources: Tomlinson, C. A., (2001). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. (2nd Ed.) Alexandria, VA: ASCD